Dropped: Doom At Your Service

My relationship with this show is ending on a note of “too little, too late,” my friends.

I’d really wanted to like this one, especially since I like both leads, and I did feel like Show had started well. To be honest, though, it’s been a slippery experience, trying to find something solid to hold onto, but still progressively losing what little grip I had, as I progressed through the episodes. I kept trying to find a lens that would make this one work for me, but to be honest, even though some lenses did help somewhat, nothing actually worked all that well.

And so it is, that I’m choosing to say goodbye to Show, 10 episodes into Show’s 16.

MY TRAJECTORY WITH THIS SHOW

After a strong couple of episodes, I found myself starting to lose interest in Show, slowly but surely, because things made so little sense to me, sometimes. The thing is, though, every time I felt thisclose to tapping out, Show would manage to pull me back in, with a great moment to do with our OTP, and I’d decide that it wasn’t time to tap out after all – at least for the time being.

STUFF I STRUGGLED WITH

1. I feel disconnected from Dong Kyung

For a good chunk of my watch, I struggled to understand Dong Kyung (Park Bo Young) as a character. So much of what she says and does just doesn’t make sense to me.

My friends at the Dramas Over Flowers podcast talked a bit about this show on an episode (which is here, if you’d like to check it out), and while they only talked about the first 4 episodes in the episode, I did find their lens helpful. My two takeaways for lens management, from the episode, were: Dong Kyung has high-functioning depression, and both she and Myul Mang (Seo In Guk) are facing existential crises.

This did help me, in that it gave me a place to file away any and all strange actions, behaviors, and non sequitur dialogue that’s written for Dong Kyung, and it also gave me a way to rationalize the general lack of depth I felt in Park Bo Young’s delivery of Dong Kyung, but.. to be honest, it only helped to soothe the discomfort to a degree. A lot of the time, I felt like Show was presenting Dong Kyung this way more because it wanted to make her appear different, quirky and interesting.

However, the more Show did this, the more disconnected I felt, from Dong Kyung.

2. Sometimes the dialogue makes no sense to me.

I’m referring to dialogue across the whole show, across characters – which means this also includes dialogue between the OTP. I know I mentioned earlier, that it was the OTP stuff that kept me engaged enough to continue, but I have to admit, sometimes, the OTP dialogue just didn’t make sense to me.

[SPOILER ALERT]

E8. I think part of the reason Show seems to want to make Dong Kyung different and interesting is to add to Myul Mang’s fascination with her, but I found this more bemusing than anything. This episode, when Myul Mang asks her what infuriated her, his not appearing, or his putting a pillow under her head, she answers that it’s his putting the pillow under her head. I’m sorry, what? I don’t get that.

She later explains (sort of) that it’s because if he was going to stay away, he should have done it right, and not left her a hint. I’m sorry, WHAT. I just find myself unable to follow this weird logic that Dong Kyung seems to favor.

[END SPOILER]

3. I dislike Deity Girl

I’ve come across comments here and there, that there are viewers who actually really like Deity Girl (Jung Ji So). I’m gonna have to admit that I don’t get her appeal, y’all. In fact, when I got to episodes 7 and 8, I got really mad at her, and disliked her with a passion. 😂

Also, I have to admit that I am hugely distracted by her terrible wig. That has to be a wig, right? Coz no one should have hair that stiff, that falls so awkwardly? I couldn’t find a way to rationalize the wig, because even if she were a cancer patient losing her hair (which she isn’t; she’s a heart patient), I don’t think patients wear wigs in hospitals?

[SPOILER ALERT]

E7. I found Deity Girl very unlikable this episode, with the way that she spends so much effort rubbing Myul Mang’s face into the idea that he’s the reason Dong Kyung’s life sucks as much as it does; that he’s the reason for every wrong thing that’s happened in her life. The expression that’s akin to satisfaction that Deity Girl wears, as she rubs his face into this, is aggravating, to me.

I know that later in the episode, we get a voiceover from Deity Girl, where she says, “A child must rebel against his or her parent to grow. And love must suffer hardship to burn hotter.”

I think this is supposed to be a reveal of sorts, where a better intention is revealed, under her not very nice actions. I guess your mileage may vary with this one, and this reveal might endear Deity Girl to some viewers. It does not endear her to me, however. I mean, there just isn’t a nurturing vibe about what she does to Myul Mang, in the least. A parent might push their child to do better, but a good parent certainly wouldn’t push their child by taunting them to break their spirit?

Also, I kind of resent the idea that she’s taunting him to make him feel bad about being the source of bad things in Dong Kyung’s life, when he was created to be Doom personified. And, she’s told him that a presence like him is needed in the world. He was just being himself, being the presence that she’d said was warranted, and now, she’s making it like it was all his fault and therefore he should know his place?

E8. When Deity Gitl says that she always hopes that she’s wrong, I feel annoyed, because the way she’d been rubbing Myul Mang’s face into the idea that everything bad in Dong Kyung’s life is all his fault, had not seemed at all like she’d had any hope of being wrong, judging from her condescending expression. In fact, it’d looked like she’d been reveling in what she believed to be true. I actively dislike the fact that Deity Girl even attempts to make herself out to have good intentions.

[END SPOILER]

4. The mythology feels poorly handled

I’ll admit that for a long time, I was confused by why Dong Kyung had an additional wish, and why she believed that if she doesn’t wish doom on the world, her most loved person would die, but she would live. I eventually went back to Show’s earlier episodes, to dig out the specific moments when these things are mentioned.

On the upside, Show had mentioned them, by having Myul Mang casually say both things to Dong Kyung. On the downside, this was done so fleetingly that it’s easy to miss it, and also on the downside, Show provides no real explanation for the out by which Dong Kyung might be able to live. To my eyes, these add up to rather sloppy management.

That aside, I also feel like the mythology can feel inconsistent, sometimes.

[SPOILER ALERT]

E8. I don’t like the detail that Sun Kyung is able to take Myul Mang by surprise, and actually enter Dong Kyung’s front door and manage to see how it merges seamlessly into Myul Mang’s house. This feels inconsistent with the fact that Myul Mang is more than capable of changing things in the blink of an eye. And he does change things, by making Sun Kyung fall asleep and telling him to forget everything.

This made the entire scene feel unnecessary, because if Myul Mang was going to make him forget anyway, why did we have Myul Mang and Dong Kyung entertaining Sun Kyung’s questions for as long as we did? This whole thing ended up feeling like unnecessary filler. 🙄

[END SPOILER]

5. I dislike Sun Kyung

Sun Kyung basically rubs me the wrong way, consistently, especially when he starts sobbing. I’m making a mental note to avoid this actor (Da Won, for anyone who needs his name) for at least a while, because he is so weak, seriously.

Of course, it’s not just Da Won’s delivery. On paper, Sun Kyung is plenty annoying on his own. It’s just that when the poorly written character is combined with the very limited delivery, it just makes it that much harder to stomach him, when he’s on my screen.

[SPOILER ALERT]

E4. Sun Kyung’s such a bunch of contradictions, the way he keeps asking Dong Kyung for money for his one-minute passions, and then, when she gets upset at him for asking for money all the time, he gets all huffy and tells her that she doesn’t need to take care of him, because he can take care of himself. This, despite him knowing that Dong Kyung’s sacrificed a lot, in order to take care of him. The thing that makes it worse, I think, is the fact that Myul Mang is on hand to helpfully inform Dong Kyung that Sun Kyung had meant every word he said. See, now I can’t even rationalize that he’d said stuff he didn’t mean, in a fit of anger. 🤦🏻‍♀️

And then, I hate, like, really, REALLY hate how Sun Kyung pulls that ER prank on Dong Kyung, knowing that it would freak her out and make her worry. Just, what kind of an immature idiot is he?!? This is cruel and selfish to the nth degree, and now, I actually do want him to suffer for it.

After Dong Kyung’s doctor (Lee Seung Joon) very unprofessionally pulls Sun Kyung aside and tells him about Dong Kyung’s diagnosis and prognosis, Sun Kyung bawls his eyes out and starts resolving to be nicer to his sister, but he earns no brownie points from me, because, listen, he had to learn that his sister is DYING, before he’d stop his self-centered whiny nonsense.

[END SPOILER]

6. I don’t like Hyun Kyu

I’m ambivalent at best, when it comes to Kang Tae Oh. Again, I’ve come across quite a few comments where viewers seem to like him very well, but again, I just don’t get his appeal. I didn’t care for him much at all, in Run On, and I’m sorry to say that I don’t care for him much in this show, either. Multiply that by 100, when he’s called upon to do aegyo – which, unfortunately, he is called upon to do, fairly consistently. 😬

On the writing front, I find Hyun Kyu thoughtless, lame and annoying, more often than not.

[SPOILER ALERT]

I thought he was thoughtless when he brought Sun Kyung home to the penthouse apartment, without even considering that it would potentially inconvenience Team Leader Cha (Lee Soo Hyuk), and I thought he was lame when we see in the flashback that he hadn’t even been able to send Ji Na (Shin Do Hyun) the single text that she’d asked for, even though he’d been desperate not to break up with her, and that’s how they broke up. Please. That’s really beyond the level of lameness that I’d been imagining. 🙄

Most of all, though, I particularly dislike the part in episode 9 where he tells – tells! – Ji Na to date him even if there is someone else that she likes, because he’d met her first and liked her first. Wow. That is so self-centered, I don’t even know what to say. He doesn’t seem to even consider that Ji Na herself might have a preference, and that preference might not be him.

[END SPOILER]

WHAT KEPT ME GOING

1. Certain OTP Moments

I found that a “love defies all” lens helps, with trying to process this OTP relationship. That is, love defies not only all odds, but it defies all logic too. Myul Mang and Dong Kyung shouldn’t love each other, but they do; they shouldn’t be able to love each other; but they do. It did somewhat help brush off any perplexity that might come from the vague mythology, and the often odd characterization of people. Love just overcomes everything, because it does. In this drama world, anyway.

Myul Mang shouldn’t be able to feel such strong feelings for Dong Kyung – or any feelings at all, really – and yet, he just does. Dong Kyung shouldn’t be clinging so hard to Doom personified, because, I mean, he’s Doom personified, and yet, she just does. The attraction between them is too strong, and too chemical, and too overwhelming, for them to react in any other way, but be drawn back in, no matter what pulls them apart.

For the record, I do like the OTP moments that are loaded with tension, when they show up.

At the same time, I do feel like there isn’t a lot of context supporting those moments of tension. What this means is that the moment is sold to me, purely on the charisma of our actors. Any bit of emotion that I feel as a result of those moments, has nothing to do with the narrative context, and everything to do with how well Seo In Guk delivers a broody gaze, and how likable Park Bo Young is. Having said that, though, I will also say that Seo In Guk does a broody gaze excellently. 😏

..Which is how I managed to keep going with this show for 10 whole episodes, really.

Here are a handful of OTP highlights from episode 8, just for the record.

[SPOILER ALERT]

1. The idea that Myul Mang is cognizant that he just can’t seem to stay away from Dong Kyung. With the love ballad swelling in the background, while Myul Mang hugs Dong Kyung tight, as he admits what is effectively his addiction to Dong Kyung, it all comes together quite swoonily.

2. I do really like that Myul Mang lets Dong Kyung see the cherry blossoms in spring, because she says that if she’d known she was going to die, she’d have spent more time looking at them. I thought this was sweet and thoughtful, that he doesn’t want her to have regrets.

3. Myul Mang taking Dong Kyung back to that specific place, where she had her fondest memories of her family at springtime, is really touching. It’s such a precious gift, that Dong Kyung gets to see her parents again, if only for a short time. I loved this.

4. The kiss on the ferris wheel is swoony, not because of anything that Show does, but because of the chemistry between Seo In Guk and Park Bo Young. Yet, I can’t deny its swooniness, even as the love ballad swells around them.

5. I like that Myul Mang tells Dong Kyung that she should use her wish on herself instead of others. I like even more, that he tries to tell her that she doesn’t need to use her wish, to ask that he love her. I’m pretty sure that if he’d been allowed to finish articulating the thought, he would’ve said, because he already does. I like the idea of that.

I must have really liked the idea of Myul Mang getting to the point of being upfront about his feelings for Dong Kyung, because despite all that I didn’t care for this episode, I actually looked forward to see what Myul Mang does next, now that he’s ready to actually tell Dong Kyung how he feels.

[END SPOILER]

2. Team Leader Cha and the love triangle among our secondary characters

Somewhere around the episode 4 or 5 mark, I realized that I found Team Leader Cha most interesting, among our characters.

I liked the firm yet casual way he navigates his dinner with his father; it’s clear that he won’t allow anyone to tell him what to do. Also, Team Leader Cha not wanting people to misunderstand the reason that he doesn’t work hard – that he doesn’t want to, not because he’s rich – strikes me as oddly principled. I’m also rather intrigued by how interested he is, in Ji Na’s success as a writer. He definitely has feelings for her, and yet, he comes across as pretty casual and firm too, in his interactions with her.

Because I felt curious to know more about Team Leader Cha, I started to feel more invested in the love triangle between him, Ji Na and Hyun Kyu as well.

Has the love triangle been satisfying to watch, up to this point? Well, no. But the promise of positive developments in Team Leader Cha’s favor, was enough to keep me mildly invested.

SAYING GOODBYE [SPOILERS]

I have to confess that it took me wayyy too long to finish watching episode 10. I think I paused at least 5 times within the first 30 minutes, because I just wasn’t feeling it. I felt extra bored and extra disconnected, while watching.

At the very end of the episode, however, we do get a breakthrough with Dong Kyung. Myul Mang tracks her down after she disappears, and with Myul Mang’s prodding, she finally breaks down and admits, through tears, that she does want to live, and she does want to be with all the people whom she loves. It’s the first direct admission we get from Dong Kyung, and it feels like she might finally be on the road to a healthier and more honest approach to life.

However, I will also say that by this time, I’m running dangerously low on goodwill, with this show. I just think that 10 whole episodes (out of a total of 16) is a lonnngg time to feel disconnected and bemused by our protagonist.

Of course, I could argue that now that I’ve finally reached an important breakthrough scene, this is the time to hang on, rather than to let go. However, this is also where Show’s prior track record comes into play.

See, up to this point, I’ve felt like fairly regularly, Show possibly has something meaningful to say, but.. at the same time, I feel like there’s a fog permeating those ideas, such that they just don’t come together easily, or at all. Show gives us bits and pieces – fragments – of what feels like the beginning of something meaningful, but then, it doesn’t feel like Show completes the thought.

I just.. don’t have enough confidence in Show, to pull it all together, and wrap this up in a manner that feels cohesive and satisfying. Which is why I’ve decided to cut my losses, and say goodbye to Show now, while I still have at least a little bit of goodwill left, towards this drama.

PATREON UPDATE!

The next drama I’ll be covering on Patreon, in place of Doom At Your Service, is The Devil Judge. Thanks to everyone on Patreon who voted in the poll; I’ve taken a look at episode 1, and I must say, I am thoroughly intrigued! Plus, Ji Sung is as charismatic as everyone promised, heh.🤩

If you’d like to join me on the journey, you can find my Patreon page here. You can also read more about all the whats, whys, and hows of helping this blog here. Thanks for all of your support, it really means a lot to me. ❤️

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vhi
vhi
13 days ago

I was really curious about what you’ll say about this drama. I have to say I’m not surprised that you dropped it. I stopped about half way too, I like both leads but it just wasn’t enough. The premise of the wish and DK living  did not make sense. It just got boring after a few episodes. I’m enjoying Hyeri’s gumiho better.

CarpControl
CarpControl
16 days ago

@kfangurl… Hi, I just saw somebody copy-pasted your post for an MDL review. Verbatim. I do not support plagiarism in any format and this worries me.
https://mydramalist.com/profile/JilliamElle/reviews/151057
I hope this user is you, but if not, I’m planning to report this person.
Stay safe KFG! <3

CarpControl
CarpControl
16 days ago
Reply to  kfangurl

Always KFG, your reviews are my happy-pill, and being in academia I know how much this hurts. This is the least I could do, and I will always have your back! Hope MDL resolves this soon. Please let me know if there is anything further that needs support 🙂

CarpControl
CarpControl
16 days ago
Reply to  kfangurl

Okay, I reported the review comment myself, using my MDL account. Also, linked your blog-post as proof of an earlier publication time. Hope they consider third-party reports as valid! 😀 If I do not receive a response from MDL in 24 hours, I will report the username. Or ask the user personally to remove the review comment.

Last edited 16 days ago by CarpControl
CarpControl
CarpControl
15 days ago
Reply to  kfangurl

Excellent! Good to know… I too saw the user-profile no longer exists on MDL. 😎 Glad, it worked out!🥰

Lee Tennant
Lee Tennant
16 days ago

IMO DAYS is just badly written. And all the flashy, ornamental aspects of great actors, good production values and sweeping music can’t cover it up. Mind you, there’s nothing wrong with a pretty romcom if you’re in the right frame of mind. So I could handle all of that probably if it wasn’t for its tone of earnest profundity that implied it was about something really really deep when it was really really wasn’t. I also stayed around longer than I should have but in the end couldn’t bring myself to watch any more. I still live in hope that both these actors can do an amazing project soon because they’re wonderful.

CarpControl
CarpControl
16 days ago
Reply to  kfangurl

DAYS hits that spot where you question if the show is dumb or we, as viewers are dumb for not getting the ‘profundity’. Then I realized I’m too old to decode pretentious rhetoric, in a k-drama much less! Sure, I may be simple-minded, but I felt called-out by the writer probably in more ways than she could even imagine.🤔

Deepa
6 days ago
Reply to  CarpControl

hahahaha..your comment made me laugh soo hard!! I was scratching my head most of the times too!

Valerie Borja
Valerie Borja
17 days ago

I read most but not all because I don’t want to feel bad you dropped this show. I like both leads and its nice for them to be in the same drama. I keep telling myself that you might be in a “situation” so it didn’t catch your fancy and yeah, let’s leave it at that. Haha! Thanks for the kiss photo. Love it.

CarpControl
CarpControl
17 days ago

Hahahahahahah! I can’t believe I had more fun reading this review more than allll the fun and swoony moments combined over the 8 episodes of Doom that I happened to watch!🤣
Why do I think you’re being kind with your criticisms KFG, because it seems infinitely worse in your head! 😜 Or it could just be me projecting! After Goblin, and Goblin Beta Version 2.0 (yes, that is what I choose to call Doom)… and Bride of the Water God, I’m choosing to avoid any and ALL fantasy k-dramas. Seriously, Xianxia c-dramas have ruined me for Gods, supernatural beings, detailed world-building and being consistent to universe-rules (although it turned tropey after my 6th xianxia, lol)….. that I cannot take man-children dressed in long overcoats, walking broodily on the streets of Seoul seriously. 😒
I may sound condescending, but k-dramas should leave this genre to c-dramas and anime. Speaking of anime…. I kept dreading Deity-Girl would turn into a character akin Akito Sohma (Fruits Basket). DAYS also had the tragedy of immensely pretentious lines and unlikeable, inconsistent characters. While PBY and SIG made a cute OTP, I couldn’t buy into the couple dynamics because there wasn’t enough angst that comes with a ‘forbidden‘ romance between a regular human and a Deity. 🙄

At this point, I’m so turned off and un-invested in this show, I won’t even catch the bilibili supercut for the ending (as I do with my usual dropped shows)  🤐

Shree
Shree
17 days ago

I haven’t seen this but I’ve noticed fantasy shows can be such a hit or miss. Lapses in storytelling can really destroy a show, and there’s often a lot in fantasy shows. The only one I’ve seen is 2016’s Signal, and that had many plot holes as well. 

I hope you enjoy Devil Judge! The first two episodes were unique and thought-provoking. Ji Sung steals the show as usual!

Shree
Shree
17 days ago
Reply to  kfangurl

Yeah in Signal the storytelling could have been tighter and the whole communication-across-time theme was handled quite oddly. For example, the detectives don’t use the walkie-talkies to their potential only when it’s convenient to the plot. The show was kinda all over the place (I realize this is an unpopular opinion though). Though I think everyone who watched it can agree, that ending sucked.

Did I like it? Yes and no. Despite these issues, the show packed its punches emotionally. It was really heavy on the heart and got difficult to watch; it’s definitely violent like you said but it gets even harder after we root for the characters and witness all the heartbreaking situations they go through. Also the cast is incredible (Cho Jin Woong was born to play his role). I have to mention, the cases are based on real cases, which just makes it more terrifying but is a genius way to inform the public about these matters.

I guess it’s a matter of viewing lenses; if you’re willing to suspend all disbelief and only get emotionally invested, it will be worth your time.

Devil Judge reminded me of Vincenzo too!! The male leads are really similar as are the glamorous sets and cinematography. Except this time there’s no cartoon comedy and the female lead is way more interesting, which are both pluses for me!

BE
BE
16 days ago
Reply to  kfangurl

There is one unbelievably serious plot hole in Signal, regarding the initial event that set everything into play, never being evaded, but the real holes come at the end, which were seemingly the result of having planned a second season.
I am with you in this serial killer business. It is such a strange trope and so ubiquitous, especially with regard to women. It is true that monsters in tales signify some sort of internal psychological disturbance that many of the Jungian bend feel necessary to confront, and thus seem to act like innoculations against both the violence and misogyny of our world, but I cannot help but feel too, that there is some pathology in this universal fascination, which is even more pronounced in the real crime narratives that have become so popular as entertainments.

Sean
16 days ago
Reply to  kfangurl

I have given this issue of serial killers in kdramaland some thought from time to time and looked a little bit into it. I apologise for the long comment in advance.

There is no information re Korea as a whole regarding serial killings other than one historical interpretation concerning Crown Prince Sado. In South Korean, there has been 11 serial killers. This is not many at all when we look at the level of occurence based on per head of population (I know, I know, one is one too many as it is). These killers were active between 1985 – 2014. There has been no such killer before this time nor since (this could be as a result of how the statute of limitations is applied). Generally, their sprees were very short lived. Experts in SK believe two things: they now catch such killers before they fully emerge and, although there are gentic factors, supressed rage is a prime trigger in each instance.

Apart from the above, public opinion has dramatically varied regarding the statute of limitations for such crimes. The people keep saying yes, then no. In short, this has led to SK ending up with a situation that complicates it all. What we now see is, although the statute of limitations was recently removed, it is not retrospective and so the previous law(s) regarding when time runs out applies to cold cases. Hence the most notorious SK/SK, recently confessed to the murder of 13 people that another person was jailed for (and to who the government recently apologised). The police though, are still investigating each murder and at least 30 other serious crimes by said SK. However, it is only really for profiling purposes as they cannot arrest him for these crimes.

So, when we look at kdramas, surpressed rage is a constant theme and is a biting social comment on SK society as a whole. Some of us in other countries do not understand how controlling surpressed rage is. We just let “rip.”

Many of the shows that have serial killers in them, have used actual bits and pieces from the more notrious cases (and I don’t mean time travel here).

In conclusion, there is this fascination with serial killings by kdramaland because society is perplexed and unsure how such cases should be treated. Although, the producers and the writers have a view, SK is still working through how it sees such instances, although people generally are starting to be more careful how they go about their lives.

Sean
15 days ago
Reply to  kfangurl

Thank you kfangurl 😊 The pressure for kids to succeed in such regimented societies is still a sad reality, despite it being commented on for as long as I can remember. I often reflect on my sociology studies regarding this from a long time ago re Durkheim (as the founder father of this discipline) and the concept of society as a single organism putting immense pressure on individuals determining how and what behaviour is deemed correct that sees crime emerge as the necessary prelude before working out the reforms for a better society. It took me a little bit to have the right lens for that train of thought, but it seems to make sense.

phl1rxd
phl1rxd
15 days ago
Reply to  Sean

Sean – as for the Hwaseong Serial Killer Lee Chun-jae, at least he is in jail for lifetime of imprisonment for the murder of his sister-in-law but it really does not help the families of all the other people he killed. I feel badly for them. Memories of a Murder was a chilling movie.

Sean
15 days ago
Reply to  phl1rxd

That’s very true, phl. I think that’s why the police want to try and give the families some form of closure through their ongoing interrogations of him etc.

I haven’t seen Memories of a Murder, nor Parasite for that matter, but it would seem that Bong Joon Ho is quite the impactful story teller and has great vision/insight. I wasn’t a fan of Snowpiercer though. I haven’t watched Okja either.

Today, my sister and her hubby fly in from Tassie. It’s been seven years since we saw them last. So, no drama watching this weekend (well, not quite, but less than usual) 😊

phl1rxd
phl1rxd
15 days ago
Reply to  Sean

I cannot even imagine the pain these poor people have gone through. Memories of a Murder was a good film – chilling but good. Parasite was similar to getting on a terribly fierce fear and stress inducing roller coaster ride that slowly drags you (biting your nails and covering your eyes with your hand) to the top and then plunges you into complete and utter chaos. I was mesmerized by it. I did see Snowpiercer and it was OK. I have not seen any of his other work. Bong Joon Ho thinks outside the box. However he surely recognizes a gifted actor (Song Kang Ho) when he sees one.

Hooray! A familial reunion so Covid lockdown must have been lifted for you. Take photos! Play the guitar! Drink and enjoy some good laughs! You and Lovely Linda deserve a mini-break. You have been really working hard this year so enjoy!

Last edited 15 days ago by phl1rxd
Sean
10 days ago
Reply to  phl1rxd

Thank you, phl. Yes, lockdown has been lifted for us, but immediately implemented in a number of other states. That aside, we will be off to see the wildflowers in our mid west, soonish.

Well, what you have said about Parasite has me intrigued. It looks like I am going to have to pencil this in, along with Memories of a Murder. No, I can’t envision what these poor people have gone through either.

We are having a great time with our reunion and catching up at the moment. Linda has also been busy showing her girlfriends and family the photos she had with actors from the film: Ed Oxenbould (star of M Night Shyamalan’s The Visit, and Paper Planes), Levi Miller (Peter Pan in Pan, Calvin in a Wrinkle in Time) and a host of others.

phl1rxd
phl1rxd
8 days ago
Reply to  Sean

Wow Sean – that is awesome for Lovely Linda! She now has some very official bragging rights. 😃

Sean
5 days ago
Reply to  phl1rxd

It was awesome phl. They would even pop in and see her everyday and not only that but helped her out in the kitchen too 😊 (I wouldn’t think that would be allowed in Hollywood)

BE
BE
15 days ago
Reply to  kfangurl

Signal‘s gimmick, time travel via radio transmission lifted from a good but not great American movie of the same title, like say falling into a swimming pool from a balcony and waking up as the soon to be bride of a Joseon prince or tossing your wedding ring out the window into a street gutter and finding yourself back in college with a second go at your failed marriage romance, the gimmick works when it moves the characterizations and plot forward. There is no way one can take it seriously except as the coin in the slot, the ticket to the show. When it fails to do those things, of course the holes in the plot show up because the gimmick is preposterous on its face.
Show is good because of its good, very good, and excellent lead actors: Kim Hye Soo–I do not know if her particular brand of charisma works for women the way it works for men, but it really worked for me. When she is on screen, you cannot take your eyes off her–that combo of super competence in a world which there is a typically misogynistic male bias and an ultra feminine persona, and one must also state, the woman’s eyes–she really is someone who looks like those great big doe eyes take up one third of her face–like I say, screen presence.
Jo Jyun Yoong (Moo Hyul in Deep Rooted Tree) is first rate, sympathetic and understatedly compelling, as show’s third lead, and Le Je Hoon was also very good (I liked him better, however, in Move to Heaven, where his character has a larger warp and woof to him, but have not seen Taxi Driver).
The three of them carry the show, which I would rate as solid B watch–as my students were aware, I am a tough A, but the definition of B as a grade is “good,” and there is nothing whatsoever bad about good.

Vivie
Vivie
17 days ago

, as usual, I agree with you. So disappointing this one turned out to be. I just couldn’t buy into its premise and the show just collapsed for me. I felt too that Park Bo Young seemed rather jaded in this role….she ought to try a different genre, seems she might have had enough of fantasy?

Vivie
Vivie
17 days ago
Reply to  kfangurl

I thought she shone in Werewolf Boy but in Abyss (which was kind of abysmal, ha!) and even in Strong Woman Do Bong Soon (which was fun to watch), I felt like she held herself back emotionally, giving a less than convincing performance. Just my two cents.

BE
BE
16 days ago
Reply to  kfangurl

I think one element of poor direction is when you see an actor, who you know can deliver quality performances hitting notes that make it seem as if they are singing out of their vocal range.
In Vincenzo Kim Hee Wan’s directorial style seems to encourage histrionics. While this worked really well for Kim Yeo Jin, it became tedious with Ok Teac Yeon. But with Jeon Yeo Bin, it nearly tilted show off its appealing course in the initial episodes as it appeared so over the top, in part because we know she is an actor who is capable of great range and nuance, and this character was being left to play a caricature. It appeared to be completely the director’s slant on the character, and it took Jeon Yeo Bin a few episodes to get her footing and play the role with just the appropriate amount of enhancing relish rather than smothering the entire hot dog with it.

Alaskan
Alaskan
17 days ago

Confession time. I couldn’t make it past the second episode, even with a lot of fast forwarding. I was waiting to see your reviews before deciding whether to try again. Thanks to your candid and thorough analysis, I know now that I will give this one a pass. Thank you.

Trent
17 days ago

I watched this all the way through to the end, and although it wasn’t a hate watch or anything, I can’t gainsay your decision to cut your losses and move on at this point. Show keeps on mostly doing what it’s been doing, so I don’t think it was going to get qualitatively better for you in the last six episodes.

What’s funny, or at least mildly amusing, to me, is that this show has a relatively high/solid rating over on Viki (US), with a relatively high number of raters (for a show this “young”): 9.6 by over 42,000 raters. This is the sort of show that just seems to be in the wheelhouse of the Viki audience, maybe? Dunno, it’s a bit of a mystery…

I’m broadly in agreement with both your dislikes as well as your likes vis-a-vis this show: the mythology is a muddle to the end; certain supporting characters are disappointing, etc. I stayed with it to the end basically because 1) it wasn’t terrible, mostly just bland and confused; 2) there were enough interesting or semi-interesting moments to keep dragging me along on inertia; and 3) as I mentioned elsewhere, I think I can probably watch Park Bo-young all day long, even in service to a bland script.

Just for kicks, I’m going spoiler tag a couple of points about the last six episodes, including the ending (if anyone cares about spoilers and is reading this on email, skip from here on!):

Spoilers
Episode 12, Deity Girl causes Dong-kyung and Myul Mang to lose their memories of each other and their relationship, a condition that persists for a couple episodes, until the sheer force of their mutual attraction and undying, destiny-fraught love breaks through the barrier and they remember each other. Yes, it is a very very cliche, trope-y move; if you can swallow the cliche, it’s kinda sorta interesting in the sense of “oh, here’s something new that show is trying that is at least different than the bland rut of the last few episodes.”

Episode 14 is our OTP reconnecting, reaffirming their deep love, and saying goodbye, at the end of which Myul Mang dissolves (literally) into non-existence (so far as we can tell). Episode 15 is Dong-kyung miraculously healed of her brain tumor, re-establishing a normal life (Team Leader Cha has formed his own start-up web novel publishing company, and hires Dong-kyung as the only editor/team leader), and making vague excuses to everyone that her boyfriend is off in America indefinitely for unspecified reasons.

At the end of the episode, Myul Mang is suddenly back, and in the final episode, we learn that this is kind of a weird Pinocchio story: he wanted to be a real boy, and Deity Girl has made him one–he is (she tells him) no longer a butterfly in her garden, but a flower, i.e. he’s human now, go be free and happy with your love. Then we get the standard K-drama extended denouement for most of the final episode, where everyone’s loose ends are all tied up (TL Cha and Ji-na are together, which made me mildly happy, since I liked both of them). The end.

So honestly, a fairly bland, even predictable ending. If you really bought into the mythology and the OTP (and I’m not going to knock anyone who did, because different hooks work for different people, right?), then I suppose it was probably pretty moving. My reaction was more “oh, that’s nice, I guess. OTP does have good chemistry, so good for them, why not?”

Last edited 17 days ago by kfangurl
Trent
17 days ago
Reply to  Trent

And, my spoiler tag didn’t appear to work, and it won’t let me edit… Good job, me! Sorry, anyone who hates spoilers!

BE
BE
16 days ago
Reply to  kfangurl

Once one comes to grips with the fact that Be Melodramatic had a miniscule audience in South Korea, we have to remember with both raves and pans, it is good to drink the water for oneself and decide on its taste.
I can understand why so many folks having watched these shows for years complain about the lack of fizz in contemporary dramas. Of course, part of it is just the sheer availability to non Korean audiences now. But the fact is it is hard to make shows that both appeal to a large enough audience and deliver something fresh. And fantasy is the most difficult genre, imo, to deliver with, as story has to be so well plotted, and characterizations so interesting and interestingly delivered, that the fantastic elements are there only to serve or enhance the fundamental themes, and thus do not get in the way via plot hole. A great fantasy tale can have plot holes; with a poor one, its poverty means a viewer will get stuck on them as with Sisyphus this year as contrasted with Mr. Queen.

phl1rxd
phl1rxd
16 days ago
Reply to  Trent

Hi Trent – I must say that I read the spoilers (having firmly stopped watching around E6) and I am glad you posted them as I can see I was right to drop.

Trent
13 days ago
Reply to  phl1rxd

Glad that was helpful to at least get a very brief, few-sentences round-up of where show ended up. And I have to say, if you were worried that you were missing out because it got much better after you dropped it, I think you can put that fear to rest…it kind of just continued on at the same level of “we’re just going to muddle through to the end”, so you weren’t missing out.

Webby
17 days ago

For once. I lasted longer than you! Around ep 10 I was bored because the narrative started repeating itself. But because I wanted to know how it would end, I casually watched 11-14,skipped 15 and just enjoyed the HEA of 16.
for me, I felt the fantasy world inconsistencies the most …. And I can tell you that nothing, not-a-thing made sense in the end. Neither world rules nor philosophical deep message about the role of fate or doom in our lives.
you did well dropping this one!

Monzyy95
Monzyy95
17 days ago

Hiya kfangurl! I was actually contemplating if I should catch this (like you, I love PBY!), but I trust your reviews v much so I shall stay away haha. A bummer that this isn’t as good as it first appeared to be though. PBY’s recent dramas (Abyss 😪) have been so disappointing 🙁